Using Social Media to Drive Book Sales

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Social media is important for almost every industry. Consumers use it to make purchasing decisions and see what non-marketers are saying about a person, brand, or idea. Authors and publishers use social media marketing to direct consumer awareness in the online community.

Occasionally, an author will make it into the limelight on merit alone, but most of the time a quality social media plan can effectively promote sales. Social media provides the perfect environment for an author to reach out to potential readers with a personal connection. It carries the same sort of intrigue as a book signing and is an insight into a writer’s world.

Nonfiction writers who need to build expertise in the marketplace may find that social media use is a great tactic for promoting book sales; however, fiction writers may benefit more from social media after a book begins to sell. Use your instincts to get the most out of social media marketing. In book sales, there is not a one-size-fits-all marketing solution; however, social media improves visibility for just about anyone.

Here are some of the most significant ways social media improves book sales.

  • Microtargeting – The concept of microtargeting requires a clear understanding of a target market. Book sales are unique because books usually fit into a very clear category or genre. First, use demographic data to pinpoint an audience; then, cater your social media content to that niche.

Some industry experts attribute the success of President Obama’s 2012 reelection to microtargeting on social media. So, you can see, this tactic is vital to readers gaining access to the kind of information they want to read.

  • Choose a platform or two – The platform you use affects the likelihood of reaching a particular audience. There is not one platform for every author; although, Twitter is close to being universal. LinkedIn works for business and technical writers. Facebook is great for fiction and other creative writers. Visual information is incredibly impactful, so including media like YouTube interviews and sneak peeks is advisable because it has multi-platform accessibility.

The number-one rule for choosing a platform for your book is to choose something that is highly visible and used by your target market. Choose 1-3 platforms, and remain active on them.

  • Choose meaningful content – Social media is about building trust, and content should reflect an author’s expertise. Tips for writers, shorter written pieces, and book excerpts are all great examples for social media. Post pictures and videos from book-selling events, and engage with other leaders online.

  • Post prolifically - Be authentic, but look for ways to stay engaged daily. Respond to posts, like other pages, and retweet any other press you’ve received on your book. Try to be informational more than “salesy” to gain followers. If possible, an author should be directly involved with and responsible for all the content posted on social media.

  • Don’t be afraid to try new things – Great content gets shared, plain and simple. Create an infographic about your book or promote another author on social media. Gain traction in the marketplace, not for direct sales, by effective use of the online space. Focus on what your audience wants, rather than creating the perfect pitch. Consistently link from social media to other content sites.

If your book is about an interesting contest or provides how-to information, consider creating a social media contest. Have readers post pictures with their pets or a video that features individuals putting how-to information to use. Think outside of the box because a viral campaign is your best chance at driving sales.

  • Be responsive – Always try to engage with the people on your social media sites. Answer questions, respond to feedback, and ask questions of your audience. The more interaction you can facilitate, the more likely a name or book title will stand out in a person’s mind.

  • If you can’t commit, don’t do it – If an author and/or sales team can’t commit to a social media site, then it’s best left alone. A social media shell provides no added value and can detract from the overall campaign. Social media campaigns should be organic, time sensitive, and consistent. Without those qualities, a prospective audience may stagnate.

Social media marketing should be part of a comprehensive marketing plan that connects the author with the book and community. Without other marketing techniques like online and print advertising, social media has less of an advantage as a viable marketing tool.


IngramSpark Staff

Hi there! It's your friendly IngramSpark staff here, happily sharing a wealth of publishing knowledge with people from all walks of the self-publishing biz.